Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco father recalls short but 'great' life of son, Robby Russell, killed by crash

Robby Russell, 16, died a day after he lost control of his Mustang and hit two cars on Moon Lake Road. He was running errands.

Courtesy of Russell family

Robby Russell, 16, died a day after he lost control of his Mustang and hit two cars on Moon Lake Road. He was running errands.

MOON LAKE — An hour and a half after the last bell on the last day of school, Robby Russell drove his black, two-door Mustang down Moon Lake Road. His friend Zachary Kersey, 15, was in the passenger seat. It was June 3, and Robby, 16, was doing errands for his parents. He paid the power bill. He was headed to his dad's auto shop to pick up a carburetor to deliver to a customer.

Robby passed slow traffic by using the dirt shoulder on the right, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. When he merged back on the road, he lost control, slid into the oncoming lane and crashed into two cars.

Robby and Zachary were flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Another driver was treated at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Robby died a little after 6 p.m. the next day. He was going to be a sophomore next year at River Ridge.

In the past, he talked with his dad, Rick Russell, about wanting to be an organ donor if something were to happen to him. His kidneys were transplanted into two people in the Tampa Bay area. Rick wishes more organs could have been donated, because that's what his son would have wanted.

"Robby was phenomenal," Rick said. "He made people feel comfortable."

Rick said Zachary is home from the hospital and sore, but doing okay. He said the other driver was treated and released the night of the accident.

Rick got Robby the 1982 Mustang last year, just before Robby turned 16. He traded a truck for it.

The car wasn't in good shape, but Robby kept working on it. He planned to spend this summer rebuilding the engine. Robby loved his car and motorcycles and girls.

Rick warned him about being safe on the road, but he still felt like Robby didn't understand how quickly a person could lose control of a car. Robby raced motocross. He had been around cars and bikes for years.

Days after the accident, Rick went to the lot where Robby's car is being held. He needed to get his son's belongings.

Rick's body shook going there, but once he saw the car — and how damaged it was — all he felt was relief. He thanked God that Zachary and the others in the accident weren't severely injured. It could have been so much worse.

"Robby never could have lived with himself if he hurt someone," Rick said.

The driver's side was demolished, he said. Robby was likely brain-dead on impact, Rick said. He doesn't believe Robby was in pain or suffered.

Robby's memorial service was Sunday at home. Rick said 300 people came; many were kids and teachers. As Rick listened to their stories — of Robby's kindness, of how his positive spirit rubbed off on others — Rick felt thankful for the people who loved his son and for the time he had with Robby. As his father, he felt so proud of Robby.

"It was short," Rick said, "but he had a great life."

Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com.

Robertt "Robby" Russell

June 23, 1992, to June 4, 2009: Robertt is survived by his parents, Richard and Dawn Russell of New Port Richey; brothers, Curtis Wicks, 24; Ricky Russell, 18; Randy Russell, 13; and sister, Cheryl Meadows, 25.

.

Pasco father recalls short but 'great' life of son, Robby Russell, killed by crash 06/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Here kitty, kitty ...

    Blogs

    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.
  2. Pasco residents affected by Irma invited to town hall meeting

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Representatives from Pasco County Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will play host to a town hall-style meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the first-floor boardroom of the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey

    Sandra Cunningham assesses the damage a water oak did to her Church Avenue home when it crashed into her bedroom roof during Hurricane Irma.
  3. Lightning's Nikita Kucherov has a lot to say — about moving on to a much better season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov sits back in his stall and smiles.

    Laughs a little, too.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) prepares for a faceoff during the first period of Friday's  (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Clearwater man shot, seriously injured

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — A shooting Sunday morning in unincorporated Clearwater left one man seriously injured, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

  5. Mother of double amputee Ireland Nugent to lose her own lower right leg

    Human Interest

    Ever since Ireland Nugent lost both her lower legs in a lawn-mowing accident five years ago, the Clearwater girl has inspired her mother, Nicole Del Corpo-Nugent, with the courage she has shown in overcoming the tragedy.

    Nicole Del Corpo-Nugent, left, looked on as her daughter Ireland threw out the first pitch when the Tampa Bay Rays played the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field on June 22, 2014. Jerry Nugent held his daughter for the pitch. Now Nicole Del Corpo-Nugent is facing surgery to amputate her own lower right leg due to a rare infection. WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times (2014)